The Mad Tapper brings in cult sour beers from highly-vaunted sour beer specialists Gueuzerie Tilquin and Wildflower Brewing & Blending.
It wasn’t too long ago that faces cringed whenever someone mentioned sour beers. To them, sourness in beer indicated spoilage. These days though, talk of sour beers can bring sheer joy to some faces, usually those belonging to beer enthusiasts who have fallen in love with this burgeoning niche within craft beer. From gueuzes and Berliner weisse to lambics and wild ales, indeed many of these traditional sour beer styles – whether those from old-school Belgian breweries or more modern ones that focus on making cult sour beers with spontaneous fermentation – have become in vogue over the past decade.
Singapore-based craft beer importer and distributor The Mad Tapper is, well, tapping on this sour beer trend. It’s signed up two cult breweries to distribute their highly-regarded sour ales here in Singapore – Belgium’s Gueuzerie Tilquin, and Wildflower Brewing & Blending from Australia.
As its name implies, Brussels-based Gueuzerie Tilquin is a specialist brewery that focuses on gueuze and lambic. Not too familiar with either beer styles? A lambic is a traditional Belgian sour beer that’s made through spontaneous fermentation, a method of making beer where the beer mash is exposed to wild yeasts in the brewery instead of the addition of commercial yeast to kickstart fermentation. The process gives the beer a distinctive flavour that can be dry, vinous, and/or sour. And unlike most other beer styles, gueuzes are also aged in barrels (like wine) for a number of years before they are released for sale.
On the other hand, a gueuze is a beer which is blended from different lambics – usually across different ages – often for the purposes of consistency, but also to achieve a specific brewery house style. While Gueuzerie Tilquin isn’t the only sour beer specialist in Belgium, what makes the brewery particularly unique is that it is the only lambic brewery based in the French-speaking Wallonia region, and also the only blendery in the country that is allowed to blend lambics with wort acquired from respected Belgian breweries Boon, Lindemans, Girardin, and Cantillon.
Then there’s Sydney, Australia-based Wildflower Brewing & Blending, which borrows many of the brewing and blending techniques from these traditional Belgian breweries, but also add their own modern touch to create their cult sour beers. You’re talking about techniques such as mixed culture fermentation, barrel-aging, and even bottle-conditioning to create some of the geekiest sour beers.
The Mad Tapper has previously brought in a batch from Wildflower Brewing & Blending, but this will be its first foray for the beers of Gueuzerie Tilquin.
From the Gueuzerie Tilquin there’s the highly sought-after L’Ancienne series, which features the use of grapes that are fermented together in the mash. The Oude Pinot Noir Tilquin à l’Ancienne for example sees the addition of organic Pinot Noir grapes during fermentation, adding a distinctive vinous note to the beer. For a more classic expression, the Tilquin Gueuze A L’Ancienne is a blend of 1, 2 and 3 years old lambic refermented in bottle for at least 6 months.
From Wildflower craft beer geeks will be able to get their hands on beers such as the Wildflower Gold (Blend #26) or Wildflower Gold (Blend #26), which are wild ales blended with beers from four different barrels of varying ages (from between four to fourteen months) and then further bottle conditioned to let the flavours mellow out more. A special bottle would be the Wildflower St Walter 2020: Black Muscat, an Australian Wild Ale refermented with red wine grapes much like the wine-inflected Tilquins.
The cult sour beers from Gueuzerie Tilquin and Wildflower Brewing & Blending will be available in Singapore from mid-July. The beers are available in bottles from all good craft beer retail outlets such as Temple Cellars and Freebird, and on tap for a limited time at selected craft beer venues such as Almost Famous, American Taproom and Freehouse.
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